Today I write about love and Alzheimer’s. What sparked the idea was a movie called “Still Alice”. It is about a lady who develops a very rare form of the Alzheimer’s disease and catches it in its early stages. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s and it takes a big toll on everyone’s life and not just the person with this terrible disease.
There were several teary eyed moments in this movie as I was connecting myself with this movie. A time in the movie when Alice began forgetting certain scheduled events throughout her day, or names, or words even. My Grandma developed Alzheimer’s at a later age. Actually just a few years before she passed, and the effects of Alzheimer’s shown in the movie were quite similar to what my Grandma had experienced.
After losing track of small memories like words, names, and scheduled events Alice would begin to lose track of where she was. She would get lost in her own home. The first time she got lost in her home, she could not find the bathroom. She simply could not remember where it was. In fact her husband had to escort her to where she needed to go. She eventually had to keep a log of questions to help her remember things. For example she would type the question, “What is my daughter’s name?” , and she would answer “Anna”. She would do this with various questions for the memories she did not want to forget, and she would do this until she could no longer answer the questions.
Luckily my Grandma never got lost in her own home. She would lose track of her items quite often she would want to make a sandwich and by the time she made it to the kitchen, forget why she went to the kitchen. The thing about love though. You very seldom forget the people you truly love. If you think about it. A mother with Alzheimer’s may forget her children’s names in the later stages as the disease continues to develop. But she will almost always remember her lover, or husband. Something that I noticed in the movie and with my Grandma as well.
Now my Grandma did not have a husband to stand by her side to the very end. I mean he was there mentally, spiritually, not physically. My grandpa passed when I was one year old. But my Grandma never forgot my name. She remembered me up until her final day. She would sometimes confuse me my name with my cousin’s. But it was okay because I understood. She always remembered her kids names. Always. She loved them to pieces! Although she would forget why she was in the nursing home or what she was sick with (she also had cancer). No matter what, she would always ask me about her kids, how they were doing; and she just never forgot their names. Which is amazing to me. I was so thankful for that, because it made it easier to take care of her, she was more comfortable and it was easier I think on all of us.
With Alice she was beginning to confuse her kids names, but she never forgot her husband. It makes sense though. Alice may have given birth to 3 kids in the movie and raised them until they were a certain age. So I would assume 18 to mid 20’s at the most. They move out, go to college, get jobs, start families of their own. They are not there every day. But her husband is. He wakes up with her every day, shares intimate moments with her, made memories in the past. He is the father to her kids. He is her soul mate. Some do forget their soul mate because of Alzheimer’s. But some remember and I think it is because the heart remembers that person. That person has a very special place in their heart. A piece of love that is so strong that even Alzheimer’s can not steal away. And that is the true Power of Love!
I hope that when I get old or before my mother gets old that there is a cure for Alzheimers because I know for a fact that I do not want anyone else or my mother going through such a thing. That to me is worse than any disease. To live your whole entire life, and make many memories, successes, attempts, and fails; and for what? To forget it all and everyone in the end? That is not fair, not right, not life, not normal. To me that is worse than death. The idea of being alone in the middle of a room full of people that you once knew, and loved, but can no longer remember. Not even a memory of yourself. That is sad.
And if Alzheimer’s strikes my family (mom, dad, my brother, me, etc…) I hope we never forget the one person we truly love. Just one person. Of course life does not give us much choice, hopefully we do not forget to love ourselves enough to not give up. That tomorrow will somehow be better than yesterday. That there is hope, and that Alzheimer’s can someday be equal to the flu or the common cold. Where a complete memory loss of all people and things in our personal lives can too be just a memory, a thing in the past.
For any of you readers dealing with Alzheimer’s in any way I hope that you or your family can find your peace with it because do remember this. Alzheimer’s is a disease, and that disease is not you! It is what you have, but it is not you! So stay strong, and love like hell to fight like hell. In the end you have each other and that is really the only way to beat this disease in the year 2015.